CHARLOTTE, N.C. (UPI) — Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets in Charlotte for a third night and stayed out past a midnight curfew, calling for police to release video that may shed more light on a deadly police shooting.
Protesters chanted, “Release the tape,” and “We want the tape,” demanding Charlotte-Mecklenburg police release dashcam and body camera video footage of the deadly encounter between 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott and police.
Demonstrators briefly blocked streets but were quickly moved. Protesters were allowed to remain past a midnight to 6 a.m. curfew imposed by Mayor Jennifer Roberts because the gathering was largely peaceful. By 2 a.m. Friday, much of the crowd had dispersed.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said two officers were treated after being sprayed with a chemical agent by demonstrators, but there were no serious injuries. Local police were flanked by members of the National Guard carrying rifles in efforts to keep crowds calm.
At one point, inmates at the Mecklenburg County Jail flicked the lights and waved to protesters outside chanting, “No justice no peace.”
Meanwhile, newly emerged photos taken by witnesses at the scene appear to show a gun on the ground during the police struggle with Scott. Scott’s family has repeatedly said he did not have a gun.
The protests Thursday began after Scott’s family viewed a video of his shooting. Police have refused to show it to the general public, saying it could hinder the ongoing investigation. After watching the video, the Scott family attorney said they could not determine if he had a weapon during the encounter.
“After watching the videos, the family again has more questions than answers,” the family’s attorney’s said. “When told by police to exit his vehicle, Mr. Scott did so in a very calm, non-aggressive manner. While police did give him several commands, he did not aggressively approach them or raise his hands at members of law enforcement at any time. It is impossible to discern from the videos what, if anything, Mr. Scott is holding in his hands.”
Police Chief Kerr Putney told CNN the investigation was turned over North Carolina’s State Bureau of Investigation.
Protests began Tuesday afternoon after police fatally shot Scott, a father of seven, near his apartment as officers were searching for another suspect. Family members said Scott was reading a book in his car when he was ordered to exit the vehicle and then was shot. Police said Scott was armed and no book was found at the scene.
Police say Scott was holding a handgun, which investigators recovered from an apartment complex in Charlotte, and posed a threat because he was not obeying orders to remain in his vehicle and drop the weapon. An officer subsequently fired his gun, hitting Scott, who was later pronounced dead.
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